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Displaced Darfurians Move To New Camp, Others Flee

Displaced Darfurians moving to new camp, others flee to Chad, UN says

26 February 2008 - As violence continues to rage in Sudan's Darfur region, a group of 500 villagers who fled their homes two weeks ago will find refuge at a newly opened camp outside of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, the United Nations refugee agency announced today.

"The group, many of whom fled the village of Saraf Jedad to Armankul earlier this year, are part of a larger group of 222 families - some 1,000 people - who were displaced for a second time and are in need of emergency assistance," William Spindler, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said at a press conference in Geneva.

Meanwhile, UNHCR is taking part in joint UN follow-up assessment missions to areas in which displaced populations are gradually returning, despite the destruction which followed attacks in the Northern Corridor, north of El Geneina, earlier this month.

As part of such assessments, the Special Representative for the joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, visited the town of Silea in Western Darfur, to explore avenues of hastening the delivery of assistance to the region.

Mr. Spindler said most of the civilians driven out by the recent air raids in the Northern Corridor are going to other villages or have been hiding in the Jebel Moun mountains, while others are attempting the dangerous journey into Chad.

"According to our team at the border, more people have crossed into Chad over the past weekend, following renewed attacks on Jebel Moun in West Darfur," he added.

"The latest arrivals are mainly women, children and elderly people and they are extremely traumatized. Our team noticed that refugees who were right at the border a week ago have moved further to safer areas into Chad, away from the volatile border."

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that the continued humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad remained of grave concern. "There are over 250,000 Sudanese refugees and over 180,000 internally displaced persons in eastern Chad, the vast majority of whom are heavily reliant on humanitarian aid for their survival," Eliane Duthoit, head of OCHA in Chad, said.

"Our life-saving operations in eastern Chad have continued despite the recent deterioration in the security situation. We must ensure that they are never interrupted, as the current crisis could otherwise turn into a humanitarian disaster," she added.

ENDS

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